An attestation is a declaration by a witness that an instrument has been executed in his or her presence according to the formalities required by law.

Team Law Community
December 18, 2020


Attestation is the act of attending the execution of a document and bearing witness to its authenticity, by signing one’s name to it to affirm that it is genuine. The certification by a custodian of records that a copy of an original document is a true copy that is demonstrated by his or her signature on a certificate. An attestation is a declaration by a witness that an instrument has been executed in his or her presence according to the formalities required by law.  


Why Attestation?

Documents issued in one country which need to be used in another country must be authenticated and legalized or Apostilled before they can be recognized as valid in the foreign country. Such documents range from degrees, transcripts, powers of attorney and other legal papers. If the country where you intend to use your documents is a member of the Hague Convention, you need your documents attested by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (Apostille). If you are looking for a family visa, then attestation of the marriage certificate attestation is mandatory.


Kinds of Attestation

There are mainly three types of attestation.

  • State Attestation

State Attestation State attestation is needed before MEA attestation, wherever based on the type of certificate, appropriate state attestation is needed. For instance, in the event of educational certificates, attestation from the State Education Department is expected. In the case of personal certificates, the General Administration Department of the involving state should attest the document earlier to attestation by the Ministry of External Affairs.


  • MEA Attestation or Apostille 

It is prepared simply after attestation by those appropriate state authorities.


  • Embassy Attestation 

Embassy/Consulate attestation is prepared after the MEA attestation.

  • Apostille

An Apostille is a type of attestation in which documents are legalized in a particular format that is acceptable in all nations that belong to the Hague Convention. Essentially, Apostille is an international attestation that is acceptable in about 92 countries, and most of the western world recognizes Apostille.

Apostille stamp is a square-shaped computer-generated sticker stamp, pasted on reverse of the document by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. This is a unique computer-generated stamp having a unique identification number, through which any member country of The Hague convention can check its authenticity online. Under normal circumstances, once the document is apostilled, it does not require to be attested further from the concerned embassy.

If a document is apostilled, it does not require to be attested.


Difference Between Attestation and Apostille

Apostille and attestation aren’t very different aspects, yet, an apostille is required for a set of countries that are a part of the Hague Convention while attestation is done for the rest of the countries. As a proof of Apostille, a sticker along with a stamp is usually applied on the document; and after the attestation of documents, they are stamped by the central government and are applicable for embassy attestation as well. Attestation involves extra verification from the embassy of the respective country along with stamping from levels of government of the home nation. While in Apostille, there is no need for embassy attestation or any additional foreign verification.


Documents That can be Attested or Apostilled

There are various kinds of documents that can be attested. The Following are some of them.

  • Educational Documents
  • School Leaving Certificates
  • College Leaving Certificates
  • Degree Certificates
  • Mark Sheets
  • Degree Certificate
  • PG Degree Certificate
  • Pre-Degree Certificate
  • BE Certificate
  • Diploma Certificate
  • Nursing Certificate
  • SSC Certificate
  • HSC Certificate
  • Inter Certificate
  • MBBS Certificate
  • Dentists Certificate
  • Engineering Certificate
  • Transcript Certificate
  • Transfer Certificate
  • Nursing Degree Certificate
  • Nursing Registration Certificate
  • Pharmacy Certificate
  • B Ed Certificate
  • MS Certificate
  • MD Certificate
  • B Tech Certificate
  • Personal Documents
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Birth Certificate
  • Leaving Certificate
  • Police Clearance Certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • Power of Attorney Certificate
  • Marriage Affidavit Certificate
  • Bonafide Certificate
  • Medical Certificate
  • Commercial Documents
  • Certificate of origin
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Invoices
  • Physical/chemical analysis reports of products
  • Packaging list
  • Special certificates
  • Memorandum of association
  • Power of attorney


The Process For Attestation/Apostille

All original documents requiring attestation or Apostille should be first attested by the designated agencies in the state from where the document has been issued. In the case of personal documents, the Home Department / General Administration Department of the document issuing state are the designated authorities. In case of educational documents, the documents should first be authenticated by the Education Department of the concerned State Government/Union Territory. Commercial Documents are to be pre-authenticated by the respective Chambers of Commerce. We can break down the process in the following manner.


Personal Document Attestation/Apostille

It is pretty clear from the term that personal document attestation/apostille is the legalization of documents that contain personal data. The personal document apostille process consists of the following steps.

  • Notary Attestation
  • Home Department Attestation or SDM Attestation
  • Apostille from MEA

Education Certificate Attestation/Apostille

The documents that are proof of your educational history that deal with your academic performances and the courses accomplished over time are called educational documents. Depending upon the type and origin of the document, the process for attestation varies from state to state. But the following are the general steps which are followed. 

  • University Verification
  • HRD Attestation
  • Apostille

 Commercial Document Attestation

The documents that approve of the business capital owned by any entrepreneur are referred to as commercial documents. These include documents like property papers, partnership deeds, Memorandum of Association, etc. The commercial document apostille process includes the following steps:

  1. Chamber of Commerce Attestation
  2. Apostille from MEA

Various Types of Attestation


  1. Notary Attestation

While verifying any educational and personal document, the first step is to get them certified from the Notary. It is done at the regional level from a lawyer or at the collector's office.

  1. Home Department Attestation (HDA)

Personal documents are authenticated by the Home Department, which is a state-level organization. It is responsible for the verification of the documents which are issued under the same state government.

  1. HRD Attestation

HRD or Human Resource Department is a department of the state that solely certifies the educational documents. Certificate verification is a significant factor in the given part of authentication. Certificate verification is needed to be done first from the university or board based on where the document is issued.

  1. SDM Attestation

Attestation by a Sub Divisional Magistrate is a substitute for HDA attestation. In cases where HDA or HRD attestation are not preferable, attestation by an SDO will do as it will represent the State Government.

  1. Attestation by Chamber of Commerce

A commercial document must be verified at first by the Chamber of Commerce(COC), which is a business association before it is legalized by the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA). There is no involvement of the State Government in case of attestation of commercial documents.

  1. Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) Attestation

MEA is the department of the Central Government that looks after the foreign affairs. MEA provides the final stamp and sticker as per the document that is needed to be attested. It is the final step of legalization when both, the home country and destination country are members of the Hague convention.



It is always a complicated circumstance when one settles from one country to another or visits a foreign country for education or profession. It is always a good idea to have your documents verified. Thus, one can avoid further complicacies in a foreign place far away from friends and family.